Posted Tue Mar 9th by Monty
Juror Ray Barrientos told reporters he was prepared to find Willie Clark guilty of murdering Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams before he was dismissed from trial Monday. He also told reporters that he believes his fellow jurors will rule the same way.
Those comments issued a message — a signal of hope that justice will be served, three years after Williams was killed in a drive-by shooting. Unfortunately, not all of Barrientos’ comments conveyed the same message.
Barrientos, 42, who was dismissed from his duties as a juror for prematurely offering his opinion on the case to a third party, made some unsettling comments regarding one of the prosecution’s principle witnesses: Clark’s fellow gang member Daniel “Ponytail” Harris. Barrientos believes Harris was a second shooter that night, and, through plea bargaining with the district attorney’s office, is getting away with murder.
(Barrientos) especially did not believe the testimony of Daniel “Ponytail” Harris, who got a plea deal in exchange for his testimony and is expected to go into the federal witness protection program.
“I couldn’t believe a damn thing he said,” Barrientos said. “He is the second shooter. It sucks that they will only be able to convict one of the two.”
Barrientos said he is disappointed that prosecutors made a deal with Harris.
“How do we go about trying Daniel Harris?” Barrientos said, “because he is getting away with 16 counts of attempted murder.”
The prosecution made a number of plea agreements with witnesses in order to convict Clark. By Barrientos’ comments, they look to have succeeded (and we’ll know for certain in the days ahead). But at what cost? Did another man get away with murder?
If so, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Call me a silly idealist who isn’t seasoned in the modern legal system (no, really, go ahead), but the thought of DWill’s killer walking makes my blood boil. We can only hope that’s merely the opinion of one man, and that the district attorney’s office knows what it’s doing.
Dismissed juror would have voted guilty [Denver Post]